Teacher found dead in Levy County


Published: Friday, January 11, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 11, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

A Marion County elementary school teacher was found dead in Levy County on Wednesday, the same day an arrest warrant had been issued against him on a charge of engaging in sex with a child, the Levy County Sheriff's Office reported.

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Markham

In notes both typed and written, Randolph Coke Markham, 28, said he was innocent, said Levy Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Evan Sullivan.

Those notes were discovered in the same shed behind a relative's home at 7850 SE 175th Ave. in Morriston where officers reported Markham hooked up pipes from a vehicle into the building, closed up and locked the structure and pumped carbon monoxide inside. He died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement had received a complaint in August 2007 alleging Markham, a third-grade teacher at Romeo Elementary School in Dunnellon, had molested a child. An investigation followed, ending with an arrest warrant being issued Wednesday for engaging in sexual activity with a child less than 12 years of age by familial or custodial authority.

Sullivan said the allegations did not stem from Markham's work as a teacher or take place at the school or on school property.

The allegations occurred in Levy County during a time frame from 1993 through 2003, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Sullivan would not provide further details about the alleged victim, including the person's age or sex, except that Markham had been auainted with the child.

Last October, Markham was placed on paid administrative leave due to the pending allegations, said Marion County schools spokesman Kevin Christian. He was hired by the school district in July 2006 and had previously interned at both Dunnellon and Romeo elementary schools, Christian said.

Sullivan said Markham knew about the warrant.

Markham had an attorney who had asked, if charges were filed, to be contacted. The lawyer would then arrange to have Markham turn himself in.

"That's not out of the ordinary," if the person is not an escape risk or a threat to the community, Sullivan said.

When Markham didn't show up when he was supposed to turn himself in, people began searching for him.

Fumes inside the shed where Markham was found were so thick the person who discovered him also was overcome and fell to the ground, Sullivan said. A 911 call was made from the residence at 1:29 p.m. When rescuers arrived, they found Markham and the person who discovered him in the shed. Markham could not be revived.

FDLE was the lead agency on the case and the Sheriff's Office assisted in the investigation, the Sheriff's Office reported.

Before a law enforcement agency can obtain an arrest warrant, an officer must complete an affidavit or sworn statement. A prosecutor would then review the information to make sure it had "the proper legal foundation" before it was brought to a judge, according to the State Attorney's Office.

Lise Fisher can be reached at 352-374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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